Judge Rules in Favor of ACGIH in TLV Lawsuit

A federal judge ruled in favor of the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists in a lawsuit that sought to block that group from publishing its threshold limit values (TLVs).

In a summary judgment ruling issued on May 6, Judge Hugh Lawson from the United States District Court in Macon, Ga., dismissed the last of four counts in a lawsuit against ACGIH, initiated by the International Brominated Solvents Association (IBSA), National Mining Association (NMA) and other plaintiffs. Three counts previously were dismissed in March 2005.

The remaining count against ACGIH for violations of Georgia's Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act (UDTPA) sought to prevent ACGIH from publishing its threshold limit values (TLVs) on the basis that they are “false and deceptive because they are not supported by credible science,” and that “they disparage the goods, services or business of another by false or misleading representation of fact.”

In its ruling, the court stated it remained “unconvinced that the cause of action created in the UDTPA should be able to stifle ACGIH's dissemination of its opinions as to what exposure levels of certain substances are in fact safe.” The court then granted ACGIH's Motion for Summary Judgment and denied the plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment.

ACGIH Board of Directors Chair Lawrence M. Gibbs said the ruling confirms the notion that ACGIH should have the right to publish its scientific opinions for the good of workplace safety.

“We stand by our policies, procedures, processes and our TLVs,” he said.

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